Despite the fact that the world seems to be moving faster, most of wish we could move more slowly as the aging process continues to sneak up on us.
In a day and age when obsolescence is built into our computers, appliances and cars, it is not often you find someone who thinks older is better. I have more gray hair than my 84-year-old mother and my 91-year-old mother in law combined. My mother does not dye her hair, while my mother-in-law has been a redhead all of her life. It is just my luck not to inherit my mother’s genes or, I’m grateful to say, my father’s premature balding. But I count my blessings that I do possess the good sense not to be tied to a bottle like my mother-in-law.
I have nothing against the fine art of erasing wrinkles, lifting and tucking body parts to which gravity has not been kind. This old, gray mare may not be what she used to be, but collecting expensive creams promising miracles is a bit like buying snake oil from a traveling medicine wagon. And the thought of knives, suction tubes and plastic body parts sounds like something from straight out of a ’50s horror movie. It just doesn’t work for me.
Instead I have my own beauty regimen that keeps me youthful in mind, and body. Here are a few of my anti-aging beauty tips.
• Candlelight is your friend – it is warm, soothing and softens any fine lines into oblivion. Try showering with candles around your bathroom. Better yet, a good soak. Not only will you feel rejuvenated, but the tensions of the day melt away, leaving your mind and skin years younger. A good night’s sleep is often the result. And as we all know, everything looks better through rested eyes.
• Turtlenecks are a wonderful addition to any wardrobe. These soft neck cuddlers cover a multitude of sins. They come in a variety of colors to compliment any outfit. Turtlenecks can go over or under a sleeveless or short-sleeved dress, creating a whole new look for those early spring days.
• Scarves are the ultimate fashion accessory. Adding color and accentuating any outfit, the scarf is back in style and going strong. Worn year-round, in silks, woven, thin, wide, tied up or hanging down, the scarf draws attention to the color of your eyes and your sense of fashion. It holds no age boundaries (not many of us are still walking around in bikinis), so it blurs young and old in a dramatic and stylish fashion. It’s easy to fill a closet with these lightweight beauty agents.
• Water, water, water. Drinking water makes your skin feel and look better. Your body functions better when hydrated. Dehydration is a major health problem for older adults. Lack of hydration causes multiple symptoms, such as fainting, nausea, vomiting, bladder and urinary track infections. The habit of keeping the body well-hydrated serves to slow the aging process. A bottle of water is cheaper and works better than smearing a bottle of lotion on your dry, tight skin.
• Exercise may be a dirty word to some, but it is a great ally in the fight against gravity. Not only does it benefit the body, but also being active keeps the mind sharp and the attitude positive. Routine is the key, whether it be taking a yoga class or working out at the gym. I prefer the comfort of my home. I have developed a routine that works with my day, from a seven-minute cardio workout to a 20-minute yoga stretch. Rotating through the week keeps it fresh and cues the body to respond efficiently.
• Meditation is probably the hardest one for me to squeeze into my busy life. Try thinking of a place or thing to create a focal point. Mine is waterfalls. Find a quiet spot (this is the biggest challenge for me) and focus on your meditative place for four minutes, breathing slowly and controlled. Try this a couple of times a day. No cheating. You can’t do this lying down when you are ready to go to sleep.
Inexpensive, effective, and at the very least, distracting. Aging may be a physical side effect to growing up, but it doesn’t mean we can’t be healthy, wealthy and wise about it. That is what a wise grandma would do.
Eularee Smith is the grandmother of six, a teacher and executive director of the Upstart Crow theater in Eugene. Visit her blog site at eularee.com.